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Rainfall in India

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India is a vast country that has various regions which experience different climatic conditions and which are reflected in the distribution of rainfall in India. Some of the states experience heavy rainfall while others experience very less rainfall. The recorded difference between the highest and lowest rainfall in India is about 1178 cm.

Rainfall Distribution Map

Rainfall distribution in India

Rainfall Distribution in India

Rainfall Distribution in India

Rainfall in India is irregular over the course of the year but well defined rainy season over most of the country starts in June and ends in September. Koppen Climate classification has divided rainfall between India into seven climatic regions:

  1. Tropical semi-arid
  2. Sub-tropical arid desert
  3. Sub-tropical semi-arid
  4. Tropical rainforest
  5. Tropical Savannah
  6. Sub-tropical humid
  7. Alpine

The average rainfall in India is 118 cm based on annual data of the Meteorological Department and the following is the distribution of rainfall in India:

Extreme Precipitation Regions: The areas in the Northeastern regions and the windward side of the western Ghats experience an average of about 400 cm of rainfall annually and areas such as Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and also hilly areas of Western Ghats are a host to tropical rainforests and the highest rainfall in India and also in the world is recorded in the village of Meghalaya called Mawsynram.

Heavy Precipitation Regions: The regions which experience 200-300 cm of rainfall come to belong to these zones. Most parts of eastern India come under this zone and are home to tropical rainforests. States like West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Odisha, and Bihar are importantly included in the zone and most of the areas of the sub-Himalayan belt also fall under this zone.

Moderate Precipitation Regions: The areas which experience 100 to 200 cm of rainfall include some parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and also the leeward area of Western Ghats. The most common natural vegetation which is present in the area is wet deciduous forests.

Scanty Precipitation Region: The areas which have 50 to 100 cm of rainfall which consists of parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and the western part of Uttar Pradesh. Some commonly found flora include tropical grasslands, savannahs, and dry deciduous forests.

Desert and Semi-desert Regions: The desert and semi-desert are the regions that receive rainfall below 50 cm and states which are included are Rajasthan, Gujarat, and areas that are classified as desert or semi-desert based on the rainfall received. Some areas of Jammu and Kashmir such as Ladakh is also included in this zone and are known as cold desert. Savannah vegetation is found in wetter regions and the lowest rainfall is present in Ruyli village in Rajasthan.

The distribution of rainfall in India is dependent on and impacted by the Thar Desert and the Himalayas. The temperature and pressure keep changing over the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the southern portion of the Pacific Ocean come to play important role in the monsoonal rains over the country.

Indian Monsoon

The Indian Monsoon is a large-scale seasonal wind system that affects the climate of India and its surrounding areas. The monsoon brings with it heavy rains and strong winds, which can often lead to flooding and other natural disasters. The monsoon typically lasts from June to September, with peak rainfall occurring in July and August. The Indian Monsoon is caused by a difference in air pressure between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. During the summer months, the air over the Bay of Bengal is warmer than the air over the Arabian Sea. 

This difference in temperature creates a low-pressure system over the Bay of Bengal, which causes the winds to blow from the sea toward the land. As these winds reach India, they are forced upwards by the Himalayan mountains, causing them to cool and condense into rain clouds. The resulting rainfall often leads to flooding in low-lying areas of India. While the Indian Monsoon is vital for agriculture in India, it also brings with it a number of dangers. Flooding is a major concern during the monsoon season, as are landslides and lightning strikes. In addition, diseases such as malaria and dengue fever often spread during the wetter conditions brought on by the monsoon.

Read Further

  1. Monsoons in India
  2. Southwest Monsoon and Northeast Monsoon
  3. Characteristics and effects of monsoons in India
  4. How is Monsoon known for its Uncertainties?
  5. Burst of monsoon and Break of monsoon

FAQs on Rainfall in India

Q1: What is the average annual rainfall in India?


The average annual rainfall in India is about 100 inches and there is presence of regional variations.

Q2: Is rainfall in India seasonal?


The rainfall in India is seasonal and accounts between June and lasts till September.

Q3: What is the annual rainfall in India?


The annual rainfall in India is about 925 millimetres during the monsoon season.

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Last Updated : 18 Apr, 2023
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